Have you ever heard the saying, “Inspect what you expect”? You can apply this to many things in life, and it certainly rings true with SEO. Patience is required as your SEO efforts start to show results, but as it’s happening, you need to track the metrics and measure what’s working and what adjustments need to be made to bolster your efforts. A regular review of your SEO program is essential to continued success in growing the amount of traffic to your website.
This begs the question—“How do I measure SEO success, and what are the key metrics I should be tracking?” We’ve got you covered. Here are some of the most important SEO performance tracking metrics that you can use to measure the success of your SEO campaign.
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Just about everyone will agree that an increase in organic (unpaid) traffic is the number one metric to track when it comes to measuring SEO success. You want to see a steady climb in organic traffic as you measure it each month. When viewing your Google Analytics account, the Acquisition report will show you where your traffic is coming from, which may include Organic Search, Direct, Paid Search, Referral, and Social.
When tracking your SEO campaign, Organic Search is the relevant channel. Compare previous month’s organic traffic to prior months to monitor short term movement. Or, track total organic traffic growth over the life of your project compared to the previous period.
A targeted keyword strategy is the foundation of any successful SEO campaign. Keywords should be carefully selected to target on a page-by-page basis with quality content. If your keywords are chosen appropriately and your content meets the search engine’s criteria, your listing will be rewarded with a better position on the search engine results page. Improvement in keyword rankings for your targeted keywords is an important SEO performance metric. Generally, the higher your pages rank for a given keyword, the more organic traffic you can expect to your site.
You can track your keyword rankings in a couple of ways:
- Manual searches. You can monitor keyword rankings yourself by entering your keywords into the search engine bar to see where your page turns up.
- Tracking tools. There are tools online that will evaluate your keyword performance, such as SEMRush.
It’s important to measure keyword performance regularly and look for improved performance over time as a key gauge of your SEO program’s effectiveness. At ClickGiant, we offer our clients access to a live ranking dashboard, so they can monitor keyword ranking improvement over daily, weekly, monthly, and full campaign periods.
Your click-through-rate (CTR) is easy to calculate. It’s the percentage of people that saw your listing on the search engine results page and clicked on it. For example, if ten people see your listing and two click on it, your CTR is 20%.
This metric is important, because it tells you if your title tag and meta description inspired a click from a user searching a given keyword. For instance, if someone types “benefits of organic produce” in the search bar and your page is titled “The Benefits of Organic Produce,” there’s a very good chance that they’ll click on your listing and visit your website.
CTR is also important because it lets you know if your meta-description, the brief description of your page’s content, is enticing enough to get the searcher to click on the listing. It’s like a batting average for a position player in baseball. It’s a number that measures success.
If you’re running an SEO campaign, you want people to click on your listing and visit your website. But it’s equally important that they stay on your site and not leave after seeing only the page they landed on. A metric to measure this is bounce rate. If 100 people visit your site and 50 leave after visiting the page they landed on, your bounce rate is 50%.
A high bounce rate can may indicate that the content on your page didn’t match your visitor’s expectations based on the title tag and meta description displayed in search engines. While moderate to high bounce rates are not uncommon, extremely high bounce rates could mean that you need to improve the content on the page or include more visible CTA’s to motivate your visitors to delve deeper into your site.
It doesn’t do a lot of good if you now have a ton of traffic but your site visitors aren’t doing what you want them to do. Conversions doesn’t have to mean your visitor hits the “Buy” button. Depending on your goals, a conversion could mean visitors to your site:
- Make a donation
- Submit a form
- Request a consultation
- Sign up for a newsletter or e-mail subscription
- Sign up to volunteer
Having site visitors take your desired action is what it’s all about. While this isn’t necessarily a sign of your SEO campaign’s success, you do want to ensure you are making the most of any new organic traffic you are receiving.
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We hope these SEO performance tracking and metrics tips help you better understand how to measure the success of your SEO campaigns. With SEO, sometimes the adage “Slow and steady wins the race” is applicable as well. SEO takes time, but when done right, it’s worth the wait.
At ClickGiant, we have years of experience optimizing businesses’ websites for search, and we can help you get discovered in a noisy online world. Contact us today, and let’s talk about getting your business the online recognition it deserves. We’re always ready to help!